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Best American Express Credit Cards

13 min read
By Brendan Harkness Sep 24, 2019 | Updated Jul 09, 2021
At a glance

American Express is a credit card issuer and network, known for its diverse portfolio of rewards cards and industry-leading customer service.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

What Is American Express?

American Express is one of the oldest and most widely recognized credit card companies, acting as both a network and a card issuer. It has a long history of serving consumers and businesses alike. Today it offers some of the best credit cards on the market, whether you’re new to credit or a veteran frequent flyer.

Its current selection of personal credit cards encompasses a host of categories, with options ranging from basic everyday spending to luxury travel. Whether you want simple cash back or you love transferring points and looking for the best deals, you’ll find it with American Express.

Insider tip

Small business owner? Amex has cards for you too. Check out our overview of American Express business credit cards and former charge cards.

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Best Former Charge Cards

You have three Amex consumer former charge card offers to choose from. They’re “former” charge cards because they now have a Pay Over Time feature.

Card & Rewards Annual Fee
The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • 5X Membership Rewards points (starting 1/1/21, on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year) on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel
    • Prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points on other eligible Amex Travel purchases
  • 1X Membership Rewards point on all other purchases
  • 100,000 bonus points for spending $6,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months
$695
(Rates & Fees)
American Express® Gold Card

  • 4X Membership Rewards points at:
    • Restaurants
    • Uber Eats
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point on all other purchases
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
$250
(Rates & Fees)
American Express® Green Card

  • 3X Membership Rewards points for:
    • Travel
    • Restaurants
  • 1X Membership Rewards point for all other purchases
  • 30,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
$150
(Rates & Fees)
Insider tip

The Centurion® Card from American Express (Review), or the “Black Card,” is Amex’s legendary elite card, but you can’t just fill out an app for it. Instead, the chosen ones are invited to apply after proving their worth. Read more about the Centurion Card here.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$695
  • Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

If American Express was a car, The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) would probably be the hood ornament. This is Amex’s premium travel card, and it comes with a suite of benefits focused on improving your airline and hotel experiences.

Most notable is probably the Global Lounge Collection, which provides the best airport lounge access you can get with a credit card. From Priority Pass to Delta Sky Clubs, you won’t be left eating vending machine peanuts when you’re stuck at the airport.

Spending Rewards
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar (on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year, then 1X) on:
    • Flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel
    • Prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 100,000 bonus points for spending $6,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months

Key Features

  • Global Lounge Collection: Enroll for complimentary access to Priority Pass, Centurion, American Express International, Delta Sky Club, Escape, Airspace, Lufthansa, and Plaza Premium Lounges.
  • Up to $200 in annual Uber Cash: Add your Platinum card to the Uber App to get up to $15 in Uber Cash per month, plus a bonus $20 in December; U.S. Eats orders and rides only.
  • $200 hotel credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits each year for prepaid hotels booked through The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts; must pay with the Platinum card.
  • $300 Equinox credit: Pay with your Platinum card to get up to $300 in statement credits annually with Equinox (up to $25 per month), for Equinox All Access, Destination, E by Equinox, or Equinox+ membership fees.
  • $240 digital entertainment credit: Pay with your Platinum card to get up to $240 in statement credits annually for digital entertainment (up to $20 per month), only for eligible purchases from Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times.
  • CLEAR credit: Up to $179 in statement credits annually for CLEAR biometric security, enough for a membership.
  • Uber Eats Pass: Get unlimited $0 delivery fees and 5% off orders at eligible restaurants for 12 months; must enroll by 12/31/21. Taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward the order minimum. Eats Pass will start auto-billing 12 months from enrollment, at then-current monthly rate. Learn more.
  • Uber VIP status: Add your Platinum card to the Uber App to get Uber VIP status where available.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four and a half years)
  • Complimentary elite hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: Daily breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, amenities valued at $100, and more at eligible properties
  • $100 annual Saks credit: Up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 from January through June, and $50 from July through December
  • Global Dining Access by Resy: Resy provides access to exclusive reservations and dining experiences.
  • Point transfer: To a selection of airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection; Extended Warranty; Return Protection; Baggage Insurance Plan; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance; Trip Delay Insurance; Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $695

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees)

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American Express® Gold Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$250
  • Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The Platinum card is all about travel, while the American Express® Gold Card (Review) splits the focus between travel and food (an excellent combination).

You’ll get bonus categories covering both eating out and eating in, as well as airlines, although hotels are conspicuously absent. Still, you’ll get annual credits that nearly offset the annual fee, plus a variety of useful perks.

Spending Rewards
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. Supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines
    • Flights booked through amextravel.com
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for every other purchase
Introductory Bonus
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 6 months

Key Features

  • $120 annual dining credit: Earn up to $10 in statement credits per month for purchases at eligible restaurants and food delivery services.
  • Point transfer: To airline and hotel loyalty programs, like JetBlue, Southwest, Marriott, and Hyatt
  • Up to $120 in Uber Cash: Add the Gold Card to the Uber App to get up to $10 in Uber Cash per month; U.S. Eats orders and rides only.
  • Uber Eats Pass: Get unlimited $0 delivery fees and 5% off orders at eligible restaurants for 12 months; must enroll by 12/31/21. Taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward the order minimum. Eats Pass will start auto-billing 12 months from enrollment, at then-current monthly rate. Learn more.
  • The Hotel Collection: Provides up to $100 in credits for every eligible hotel stay of two nights or more, along with other perks.
  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra point opportunities at a changing selection of merchants (offers are limited; enrollment required).
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $250

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)

 

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American Express® Green Card
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$150
  • Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The information related to American Express® Green Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

The American Express® Green Card (Review) was recently upgraded to feature new bonus categories and benefits, including some potentially lucrative offers for certain travelers.

This card didn’t have much to recommend it before, but now, if you like the new perks, it could be a solid travel card for anyone who doesn’t want to spring for the Gold or Platinum. Or, if you’re just looking for Membership Rewards points, check out the less expensive point cards below.

Spending Rewards
  • 3X points per dollar for:
    • Travel
    • Restaurants
  • 1X point per dollar for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 30,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

Key Features

  • Annual CLEAR credits: Get up to $100 in statement credits per year towards a CLEAR membership.
  • Annual LoungeBuddy credits: Get up to $100 in statement credits per year for LoungeBuddy purchases.
  • Point transfer: To airline and hotel loyalty programs, like JetBlue, Delta Air Lines, Marriott Bonvoy, and Hilton
  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra point opportunities at a changing selection of merchants.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Shopping protection: Purchase Protection
  • Annual fee: $150

Best for Cash Back Rewards

Card & Rewards Annual Fee
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • 6% cash back for:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
    • Select U.S. streaming services
  •  3% cash back for:
    • Transit
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 20% back for Amazon purchases in the first 6 months, up to $200 back; $150 back for spending $3,000 in the first 6 months (earned as a statement credit)
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
(Rates & Fees)
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • 3% cash back at:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Select U.S. department stores
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 20% back for Amazon purchases in the first 6 months, up to $150 back; $100 back for spending $2,000 in the first 6 months (earned as a statement credit)
$0 (Rates & Fees)
American Express Cash Magnet® Card

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • $150 cash back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
$0 (Rates & Fees)

 

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Regular APR13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review) really packs a punch when it comes to groceries, with an industry-leading 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets. Amex recently made this card even better, expanding the bonus categories to include certain streaming services and transit.

Spending Rewards
  • 6% cash back:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1%)
    • Select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • Transit
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 20% back for Amazon purchases in the first 6 months, up to $200 back; $150 back for spending $3,000 in the first 6 months (earned as a statement credit)

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Find offers for extra cash back at a changing selection of merchants.
  • $120 Equinox+ Credit: Get up to $10 per month for a stand-alone monthly membership to the Equinox+ app. Will not apply if you purchase the membership through the Equinox app or a third party.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Shopping protections: Return Protection, Extended Warranty, Purchase Protection
  • Travel protections: Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, Global Assist Hotline
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees)

 

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Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review) may earn less cash back than the Preferred version, but it also comes with no annual fee. So it could be perfect if your grocery bill isn’t very high and you don’t care about the other categories of the Preferred.

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (earned as a statement credit; up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 20% back for Amazon purchases in the first 6 months, up to $150 back; $100 back for spending $2,000 in the first 6 months (earned as a statement credit)

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Earn extra cash back at a variety of merchants.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: Register with ShopRunner for free two-day shipping and returns at select online retailers.
  • Entertainment Access: Exclusive tickets to events, concerts, sports, and shows
  • Travel protections: Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, Global Assist Hotline
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees)

 

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American Express Cash Magnet® Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The information related to American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

If you tend to make a variety of purchases, or need a card to fill in the gaps between the bonus categories of your other credit cards, the American Express Cash Magnet® Card (Review) could be what you’re looking for. With the same flat rate for every purchase, you can use the Cash Magnet to earn decent rewards no matter where you shop.

Spending Rewards
  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
Introductory Bonus
  • $150 cash back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Find extra cash back opportunities at a changing selection of merchants.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Travel protections: Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, Global Assist Hotline
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

American Express Cash Magnet® Card (Rates & Fees)

Best for Point Rewards

The following cards offer Membership Rewards points, rather than cash back, making them a bit more travel-oriented. These points aren’t worth much when redeemed for statement credits, but you can find great value by transferring them to airline and hotel frequent traveler programs.

Card & Rewards Annual Fee
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

  • 3X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
  • 2X Membership Rewards points at U.S. gas stations and Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point for all other purchases
  • 50% more points for making at least 30 purchases in a billing period
  • 15,000 points if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
$95
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

  • 2X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually) and Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point for all other purchases
  • 20% more points for making at least 20 purchases in a billing period
  • 10,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
$0
Blue from American Express®

  • 2X Membership Rewards points at Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point for every other purchase
$0

 

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Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$95
  • Regular APR13.99%–23.99% Variable

The information related to Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card (Review) is designed for grocery and gas spending, with an interesting feature that boosts your rewards for using the card frequently. You’ll have to use the card quite a bit each billing period to get it, but if you can you’ll get a hefty 50% bonus to all the points earned in that period.

Spending Rewards
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for all other purchases
  • 50% point bonus: For making 30 or more purchases per billing period
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 15,000 points if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra cash back opportunities at a changing selection of merchants.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 months, then 13.99%–23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $95

 

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Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR12.99%–23.99% Variable

The information related to Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card (Review) is the lesser version of the EveryDay Preferred above, offering fewer points per dollar and a smaller spending bonus. But in return there’s no annual fee, so you won’t have to worry about making the card pay for itself.

Spending Rewards
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
    • American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for all other purchases
  • 20% point bonus: For making 20 or more purchases per billing period
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 10,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra cash back opportunities at a changing selection of merchants.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 12.99%–23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

 

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Blue from American Express®
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  • Min. credit levelFair
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR23.99% Variable

The information related to Blue from American Express® has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

The Blue from American Express® isn’t very exciting. It’s got no annual fee so it can be a free way to earn Membership Rewards points, but there are much better cards if you actually care about earning points.

If you’re looking to get a lot out of your rewards card, another option would be a better fit.

Spending Rewards
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for every other purchase

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra cash back opportunities at a changing selection of merchants.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Annual fee: $0

Best for Building Credit

American Express Optima® Card
  • Min. credit levelBad
  • Annual Fee$49
  • Regular APRPrime Rate + 14.99% Variable

You may have never heard of the American Express Optima® Card, but that’s likely a good thing. This is an invite-only card, but invites are typically only extended to those who have defaulted and settled on balances with other Amex cards.

It’s offered as a way to help you rebuild your credit, giving you a path back into Amex’s good graces (assuming you use it responsibly). That’s why this is sometimes known as a “second chance” card.

There are no rewards and no real benefits to speak of. The main purpose here is rebuilding your credit scores and getting back on track.

Key Features

  • Purchase APR: Prime Rate + 14.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $49

Best for Co-Branded Airline Cards

Card & Rewards Annual Fee
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

  • 3X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar for every other purchase
  • 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months; up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 3 months
$550
(Rates & Fees)
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • 3X SkyMiles per dollar for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
    • Hotels
  • 2X SkyMiles per dollar at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar for all other purchases
  • 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months; up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 3 months
$250
(Rates & Fees)
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • 2X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. Supermarkets
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar for every other purchase
  • 40,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months; up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 3 months
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
(Rates & Fees)
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

  • 2X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar for all other purchases
  • 10,000 bonus miles for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
$0
(Rates & Fees)

 

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Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$550
  • Regular APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Rates & Fees

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Review) is Delta’s premium card, with a high annual fee and several valuable airline perks, chief among them being lounge access and a companion certificate. You may want to consider the other Delta cards before springing for this one though, as the increased fee may not come with much extra value for many cardholders.

The SkyMiles you earn with the Delta cards will be in addition to any other miles you earn from your Delta member status.

Spending Rewards
  • 3X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
  • 1X SkyMile per eligible dollar spent on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months; up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 3 months

Key Features

  • Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access: Get complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, with up to two guests at $39 each, plus complimentary access to Centurion Lounges, with up to two guests at $50 each. Includes two free Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes.
  • Annual Companion Certificate: A certificate for a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip flight
  • Status Boost: Earn 15,000 MQMs for spending $30,000, up to four times per calendar year.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
  • Priority Boarding on Delta flights: Get on the plane more quickly with Zone 1 priority boarding.
  • Complimentary upgrades: If you don’t have Medallion status you can still get some upgrades for free.
  • 20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: A 20% discount, in the form of a statement credit, on eligible in-flight purchases, like food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $550

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Rates & Fees)

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Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$250
  • Regular APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Rates & Fees

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (Review) is one of the mid-tier Delta cards, with solid airline perks and a great introductory bonus.

Using this card could be a good way to see if the Delta Reserve would be worth it for you — if you find yourself wanting more, you may want to upgrade. (Or start with the Reserve; if you find you’re not getting your money’s worth, you could consider downgrading to one of the other Delta cards with a lower annual fee.)

Spending Rewards
  • 3X SkyMiles per dollar for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta
    • Hotels
  • 2X SkyMiles per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. Supermarkets
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months; up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 3 months

Key Features

  • Annual Companion Certificate: Each year, upon card renewal, get a certificate for one domestic Main Cabin round-trip flight.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four-and-a-half years)
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
  • Main Cabin 1 priority boarding on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
  • Delta Sky Club access: Relax at Delta Sky Club airport lounges for $39 per person.
  • 20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: A 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases, like food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
  • Status Boost: Earn 10,000 MQMs (Medallion Qualification Miles) for every $25,000 in eligible purchases, up to two times per calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $250

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (Rates & Fees)

 

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Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
  • Regular APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Rates & Fees

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If you’re not ready to go for one of the more expensive Delta cards, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card (Review) might serve you well. You won’t get any premium airline benefits, but you can enjoy the convenience of a free checked bag, priority boarding, and savings on in-flight purchases.

Spending Rewards
  • 2X SkyMiles per eligible dollar for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. Supermarkets
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 40,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months; up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 3 months

Key Features

  • First checked bag free: Use your Delta SkyMiles number when booking your flight to waive the price ($30) of your first checked bag. This benefit extends to up to eight other passengers flying on your itinerary.
  • Main Cabin 1 priority boarding: Get to your seat and settle in earlier when you reserve with your SkyMiles number. This benefit extends to up to eight other passengers on your itinerary.
  • 20% back on in-flight purchases: Save 20%, in the form of a statement credit, on in-flight purchases like food and alcoholic beverages. Excludes WiFi and associated services.
  • $100 Delta flight credit: Spend $10,000 in a calendar year to earn a $100 credit good for Delta flight and vacation package reservations.
  • Global Assist Hotline: Receive assistance with medical and legal referrals, cash wires, passport replacement, missing luggage, and more when you’re more than 100 miles from home.
  • Entertainment Access: Purchase tickets to your favorite events with exclusive presale access and explore exclusive cardmember events near you.
  • ShopRunner: Enjoy free two-day shipping at a variety of online retailers with a complimentary ShopRunner membership.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card (Rates & Fees)

 

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Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Rates & Fees

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The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card (Review) doesn’t have much to recommend it, but since it has no annual fee, it could be a good downgrade option if you have one of the other Delta cards but won’t use it anymore.

You won’t get much in the way of airline benefits, only a 20% statement credit for in-flight purchases. But there are a few other features provided by Amex.

Spending Rewards
  • 2X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
    • Restaurants
  • 1X SkyMile per eligible dollar spent for every other purchase
Introductory Bonus
  • 10,000 bonus miles for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening

Key Features

  • 20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: Get a 20% discount, in the form of a statement credit, on eligible in-flight purchases of food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
  • Amex Offers: Enroll to get offers for extra points at specific merchants.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, Global Assist Hotline
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card (Rates & Fees)

Best for Co-Branded Hotel Cards

Card Annual Fee
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

  • 6X Marriott Bonvoy Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • 3X Marriott Bonvoy Bonus points per dollar for:
    • Flights booked directly from airlines
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 2X Marriott Bonvoy Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
  • 75,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months; up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 6 months
$450
(Rates & Fees)
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

  • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel
    • Car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar on all other purchases
  • 150,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
$450
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

  • 12X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
  • 150,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months; 50,000 bonus points for spending a total of $10,000 in the first 6 months
$95, $0 first year
(Rates & Fees)
Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 5X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. supermarkets
    • U.S. gas stations
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
  • Earn 100,000 Bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months; up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months (expires 8/25/2021)
$0
(Rates & Fees)

 

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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$450
  • Regular APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Rates & Fees

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Frequent Marriott Bonvoy residents will love the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Review). With a free night every year, Gold Elite status, airport lounge access, and several credits to offset the annual fee, this is one of the most valuable hotel cards on the market. (Rates & Fees)

Spending Rewards
  • 6X Marriott Bonvoy Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 3X Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar:
    • At U.S. restaurants
    • On flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 75,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months; up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 6 months

Key Features

  • $300 annual Marriott Bonvoy hotel credit: Up to $300 in statement credits for eligible purchases
  • Free Night Award: Every year after your account anniversary you’ll get a Free Night Award, good for redemption values of 50,000 points or less.
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Free access to Priority Pass airport lounges for you and up to two guests (excludes non-lounge experiences)
  • Application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every five years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 every four-and-a-half years)
  • Complimentary Gold Elite hotel status: Includes perks like a 25% bonus on base points, 2 p.m. late checkout, and more
  • 15 Elite Night Credits: Each year you’ll get 15 Elite Night Credits towards a higher member status.
  • $100 property credit: Earn up to $100 in property credits when booking at least two nights direct with a special rate code at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis.
  • Bonus points for airline transfers: Get 15,000 bonus points for every 60,000 points transferred to airline programs
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection; Extended Warranty; Return Protection; Baggage Insurance Plan; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance; Trip Delay Insurance; Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $450

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees)

 

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Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$450
  • Regular APR15.74%-24.74% (Variable)

Rates & Fees

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The information related to Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Card membership will run you $450 per year, but the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card will provide the most Hilton Honors points out of all the Amex Hilton cards, not only from the card but from your elite hotel status. You’ll also get some useful credits and free stays that could completely offset the annual fee — and then some — if you travel enough every year.

Spending Rewards
  • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 7X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
    • Car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 150,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening

Key Features

  • Hilton Honors Diamond status: Includes a 100% bonus on Base points earned, room upgrades to suites when available, executive lounge access, a 48-hour room guarantee, and more
  • Annual free Weekend Night Award: One free night every year, and earn another free weekend night by spending $60,000 in a calendar year
  • Annual $250 Hilton resort statement credit: Get up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your Card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio
  • Annual $250 airline fee statement credit: For incidental fees only
  • $100 Hilton on-property credit: Good for every eligible stay of two nights or more at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts, valid for incidental fees only
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Complimentary access to Priority Pass airport lounges (excludes non-lounge experiences)
  • American Express Concierge: Call for help with select services, like buying event tickets, making dining and other reservations, and finding hard-to-find items.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection; Extended Warranty; Return Protection; Baggage Insurance Plan; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance; Trip Delay Insurance; Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $450

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees)

 

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Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$95, $0 first year
  • Regular APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The information related to Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

As the mid-tier Amex Hilton card, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Review) won’t weigh down your wallet but it will help you earn quite a lot of Hilton points. You’ll get an upgraded hotel member status and Priority Pass lounge access, but you’ll have to spend quite a bit each year to earn any free night stays.

Spending Rewards
  • 12X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. Restaurants
    • U.S. Supermarkets
    • U.S. Gas stations
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 150,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months; 50,000 bonus points for spending a total of $10,000 in the first 6 months

Key Features

  • Hilton Honors Gold status: Includes an 80% point bonus, room upgrades when available, complimentary breakfasts, and more
  • Priority Pass Select membership: 10 free visits to Priority Pass lounges per year; additional visits cost $32 per person
  • Annual Weekend Night Award: For spending $15,000 in a calendar year
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, Baggage Insurance Plan, Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, Global Assist Hotline
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95, $0 first year

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees)

 

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Hilton Honors American Express Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The Hilton Honors American Express Card (Review) doesn’t offer much, but it could be useful for the occasional Hilton stay.

Card members get automatic Hilton Honors Silver status, but if you won’t travel too much or tend to stay at a variety of hotels we’d recommend going with a general travel rewards card instead, one that isn’t co-branded with a particular hotel brand.

Spending Rewards
  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 5X Bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. supermarkets
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • Earn 100,000 Bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months; up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months (expires 8/25/2021)

Key Features

  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status: Includes a 20% point bonus, room upgrades when available, late checkout, and more
  • Fast track to Gold status: Upgrade to Gold Status by spending $20,000 or more with the card in a given year.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: Register with ShopRunner for free two-day shipping and returns at select online retailers.
  • Entertainment Access: Exclusive discounts to dining events, concerts, sports, and shows
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, Car Rental Insurance Plan, Global Assist Hotline
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees)

What Features Do American Express Cards Provide?

American Express extends a selection of additional features for most of its cards. Check your specific card’s details online or in the accompanying Guide to Benefits to learn which features you can take advantage of.

  • Amex Offers: Most Amex rewards cards come with Amex Offers, a handy shopping portal that can extend the usefulness of your card. You’ll get a selection of discounts and extra reward opportunities at a wide variety of merchants, with new offers about once a month.
  • ShopRunner membership: Many Amex cards come with a ShopRunner subscription, which provides free two-day shipping and returns at a growing selection of online retailers.
  • Membership Rewards points: Some Amex cards earn Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to over a dozen airline and hotel frequent traveler programs. Save your points until you can cash them in for a high value, like two cents per point or more, to maximize your rewards cards.
  • A bevy of travel perks: Some Amex travel cards come with airline and hotel credits, elite hotel statuses, memberships with car rental agencies, and access to travel planning services to create custom itineraries for your trips. Certain cards also come with The Hotel Collection and the Fine Hotels & Resorts program for additional perks. Eligibility for the Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection offers is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.
  • Wide-ranging lounge access: The Platinum cards (personal and business), along with the Amex Black Card, provide the best airport lounge access in the credit card game with Amex’s Global Lounge Collection. Lounges include Priority Pass, Centurion, Delta Sky Club, Airspace, Escape, and more.
  • Shopping protections: Depending on the card, you may get purchase protection, return protection, and/or extended warranty.
  • Travel protections: These may include travel insurances like car rental insurance, a baggage insurance plan, and travel accident insurance, plus roadside assistance and a global assistance hotline.
  • Year-End Summary: Download a convenient summary of all your charges for the previous calendar year, available as a PDF, Excel, or CSV file.

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best American Express Card?

If it’s a prestigious travel rewards card you’re after, The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) is sure to please with travel perks like industry-leading airport lounge access. Think you’ll spend more money on groceries or at restaurants than flights or hotel rooms? Go with the American Express® Gold Card (Review).

For those who’d prefer a lower annual fee, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review) (Rates & Fees) and Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review) (Rates & Fees) are great rewards cards, but they provide cash back rather than points. Rewards junkies should probably stick with the Blue Cash cards’ points-earning counterparts, the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card (Review) and the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card (Review).

Amex also issues co-branded credit cards for Marriott and Delta, and they retain the issuer’s trademark quality; if you’re fond of either company, they’re certainly worth a look.

What credit scores do you need to get American Express cards?

Most (but not quite all) Amex credit cards, including former charge cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) and the American Express® Gold Card (Review), are geared for applicants with good credit. So, that’s a FICO score of at least 670 or so, and a VantageScore of at least 700.

Just be aware that your credit scores aren’t the only factor in an issuer’s decision to approve or deny your application. If your income is too low, or your debt load is too high, you may still be denied, even if you have great credit. Likewise, you may be approved even with less-than-great credit scores, though the odds will typically be lower.

Where is American Express accepted?

American Express isn’t accepted as widely as Visa or Mastercard.

It’s accepted in a number of countries around the world, and at “99% of places that accept credit cards” in the United States, as of 2020. But it’s probably not the best network for international travel due to comparatively low acceptance outside the U.S.

Still, that’s not to say you shouldn’t apply for an Amex card if you’re a frequent international traveler. You just may want to have a Visa or Mastercard on hand if you’re planning to leave the country.

A Brief History of American Express

Founded in 1850 in Buffalo, New York, the American Express company began as a freight-centered business that competed with the U.S. Postal Service. During this beginning phase in Amex’s history, it was most trusted with transporting valuables between consumers as well as businesses.

Its journey to the brand we know today began between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After thriving from its freight-forwarding business, American Express introduced new services catering towards personal financial services, and in the 1950s the company introduced its first charge card. This marked the start of Amex’s passion for providing its customers with unique cards for a wide swath of lifestyles and needs.

An American Express Order and Commission Department, approx. 1878. Image credit: Smithsonian Institution

An American Express Order and Commission Department, approx. 1878. Image credit: Smithsonian Institution

A Traveler’s Company, and a Ticket Home During World War I

In the beginning, American Express focused on establishing business-to-business connections in order to help companies safely deliver merchandise to each other. To help support existing customers who found themselves traveling frequently for work, it introduced the Traveler’s Cheque in 1891.

The American Express Traveler’s Cheque. Image credit: American Express

The American Express Traveler’s Cheque. Image credit: American Express

This was inspired by James Fargo, the president of Amex at the time, who was unable to cash checks while overseas in Europe. An employee of his, Marcellus Berry, created a travel-specific model that required a signature to be cashed abroad. Eventually, the company opened its first international office in Paris to further support overseas travelers.

When the First World War began, 150,000 Americans found themselves stranded overseas. But holders of American Express Traveler’s Cheques were able to cash them in and get home safely with their belongings.

American Express’ First Charge Card

Nearly 40 years past the end of WW1 and a decade following WW2, American Express launched its first charge card in 1958 to provide both security and flexibility for those trying to navigate the growing economy. Upon its launch it had 250,000 cardholders, and 17,500 companies signed on to use it. This new card was available in both the U.S. and Canada.

The first American Express personal charge card, introduced in 1958. Image credit: American Express

The first American Express personal charge card, introduced in 1958. Image credit: American Express

Just a bit later in 1959, American Express became one of the first major credit card companies to issue a plastic credit card.

Global Expansion

In the 1970s, Amex began international card-issuing relationships in both South America and Europe. This was especially important to the growth of its business-centered customer base, as international partnerships offered more financial support to growing and established businesses with their hands overseas.

As the company entered the latter decades of the 20th century, it began to create unique programs for its travel-focused customers. It launched Membership Rewards (originally named Membership Miles) in 1991 to help customers earn card-based rewards and get the most out of the money they spend everyday.

Continuing to Innovate

In modern times, Amex has developed several community outreach initiatives to spur economic growth in addition to the vast variety of cards and services it now offers. One of the most well-known American Express initiatives is its “Small Business Saturday,” which was launched in 2010 and most notably gained momentum under the catchy slogan, “Shop Small.”

The first Shop Small Saturday event in 2010. Image credit: American Express

One of the first Shop Small Saturday events in 2010. Image credit: American Express

In addition to fostering consumerism amongst local businesses, Amex also has a history of providing assistance when natural disasters strike to help provide some stability for those affected. It also offers grants to community service programs to help fund their causes.

Looking for credit cards from other card issuers? You’ll find a wide variety of excellent options in our picks for the Best Credit Cards.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.

Written by

Brendan Harkness

Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high-quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.

Do you have a correction, tip, or suggestion for a new post? Contact us here.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers' responsibility to ensure all posts are accurate and/or questions are answered.

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